Identify Local Needs of Applied Research

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A needs analysis is a systematic information gathering process carried out to determine whether or not something (such as a project) is justified. It may also be referred to as a needs assessment, situational analysis or organisational diagnosis. The design principles for stakeholder engagement are organised into three groups, namely organisational, values and practices. The organisational principles are to clarify the objectives of stakeholder engagement; embed stakeholder engagement in a framework or model of research use.

A needs analysis shares some similarities with a community needs assessment. In both instances, the process begins with information gathering, but in a local needs analysis, community engagement plays a more important role. It is up to representatives of the community to determine the needs based on a known or anticipated problem or opportunity. Then the group can establish a consensus and propose a solution.

There are usually four stages to a local needs assessment programme: collection of data, organisation and analysis of data, presentation of results, creation of action plan.

Even if a needs analysis justifies a specific course of action, it may be necessary to revisit the action plan if conditions change significantly. At this point a new assessment may be required to validate the continuation of the established course of action.

What is a needs analysis and what elements does it consist of? We have three simple elements but you should remember that needs analysis is a systematical project. So, it’s not one way operation, single operation. It should be organized permanently and frequently because today our environment, business environment, also economical environment are changing very fast. You should remember about this, you should make this permanently you should permanently check how our environment, business, economical and internal environment also looks like. If you see some changes, you should implement results of the changes in your projects. First one is organizational; second one is values; and third one is practices. Organizational is the structure of the management in the organization, how people work, what they think, how they do something. You should understand this and thanks to this your project can be more suitable for the company. Third point is values. Values means what kind of values inside the company are important. It means what are the principles in the company. And third one – practices and how people work and how people do, and the question is how the influence of these practices on your project looks like. These three points… you can divide your researches in these three groups, so you should look for the answers in these three areas.

What is needs analysis and what elements does it consist of? There are many methods of data collecting, so you can find a lot of literature information about it but I would like to present you simple methods and most popular in academical environment.

A good questionnaire is a final topic of how to organize a survey, for example. We have six points to define the purpose of the study precisely. In this moment we’re asking the question: What do you want to know? You must know exactly what you want, what kind of information you want to get from your respondent. Without this you shouldn’t go to the next point. But next point is to specify the target group precisely. You should exactly know what kind of people, what kind of responses do you need to get the best information and adequate information to your needs. Who will you ask about it? This is more important information to find the right group of the respondents and find the right questions. Third point is to develop a list of questions. What questions you will ask.It’s not easy to do it because we know what we want to know but the third point means how to organize the questions, how to plan the questions. It’s an important thing and it’s some technical aspect of the sociological researches. Fourth point – conduct a pilot survey. So, it means that you shouldn’t start the main project, main research project without some tests. The tests are necessary to find out that your survey is correct or incorrect. If you find, during the pilot project, some problems, some mistakes in the questionnaire, you can change it. Thanks to this you will not, in the future, replace your work. Fifth point is to verify the content of the survey. After the fifth point you can go to the main project. So, you can start the main research and organize the next point – so, find research and analyze the data. And after that you can get some information about the researched area.

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Stakeholders need analysis

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Based on the following steps, prepare a simple needs survey.

  1. Choose one, well-defined goal
  2. Try to make a good survey as short as possible
  3. Create questions with easily measurable answers
  4. Ask only one question per question
  5. Avoid suggestive answers
  6. Limit the number of compulsory questions
  7. Test survey

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